1. Check Windows Update and Office Update regularly. Windows Me, 2000, XP, 7, 8 users can configure automatic updates. Click on the Automatic Updates tab in the System control panel and choose the appropriate options.
2. Install a personal firewall. Both SyGate (_www.sygate.com) and ZoneAlarm (_www.zonelabs.com) offer free versions.
3. Block pop-up spam messages in Windows NT, 2000, or XP by disabling the Windows Messenger service (this is unrelated to the instant messaging program). Open Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Services and you'll see Messenger. Right-click and go to Properties. Set Start-up Type to Disabled and press the Stop button. Bye-bye, spam pop-ups! Any good firewall will also stop them.
4. Use strong passwords and change them periodically. Passwords should have at least 9 characters; use letters and numbers and have at least one symbol. A decent example would be Pb@h4ck3rhacker*. This will make it much harder for anyone to gain access to your accounts.
5. If you're using Outlook or Outlook Express, use the current version or one with the Outlook Security Update installed. The update and current versions patch numerous vulnerabilities.
6. Buy antivirus software and keep it up to date. If you're not willing to pay, try Grisoft AVG Free Edition (http://www.freeavg.com).
7. If you have a wireless network, turn on the security features: Use MAC filtering, turn off SSID broadcast, and even use WEP with the biggest key you can get. For more, check out our wireless section or see the expanded coverage in Your Unwired World in our next issue.
8. Be skeptical of things on the Internet. Don't assume that e-mail "From:" a particular person is actually from that person until you have further reason to believe it's that person. Don't assume that an attachment is what it says it is. Don't give out your password to anyone, even if that person claims to be from "support."
These are the ways that can maintain your Pc.